Eversheds partner joins Govt financing agency

Eversheds litigation partner Nicholas Ridley has left the firm's London office to become the new general counsel of a powerful government department involved with major international financing deals.

Ridley takes up his new position as general counsel of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) on 14 June.

Ridley, who will also be joining ECGD's management board, replaces the present general counsel, Russell Elden, who is retiring.

Eversheds head of litigation Tim Maloney says: ” Ridley was not someone who we parted with voluntarily. He was a valued, hard-working partner in our insurance group who was made an offer he found to be irresistible.”

He adds that although Eversheds does not act for the ECGD, he hopes the connection might lead to future work.

The main function of the ECGD, the UK's official credit agency, is to help British companies export capital goods, which includes power stations, dams, roads and Airbus aircraft.

The ECGD underwrites bank loans to enable overseas buyers to purchase capital and project-related goods from the UK. The smallest contract size is about u2m but will often be as high as u300-400m.

In February, the ECGD backed the largest-ever aircraft financing deal. It involved a $4.32bn (u2.64bn) umbrella facility, to support the delivery of 75 Airbus aircraft by British Aerospace over the next three years. The ECGD itself agreed to support $1.12bn (u700m) of export credits.

Ridley will play a major role in the financing negotiations on such deals. Vivian Brown, the ECGD's chief executive, says: “He will be bringing a wealth of commercial and legal experience to the job which will be of great value to us in providing a professional service to customers.”